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Rafa Benitez “I’m still convinced that we can avoid relegation”

5 months ago
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Rafa Benitez is feeling down but not beaten after his team made it nine Premier League matches without a win.
Newcastle dominating possession and shots but Brighton taking the three points back to the south coast.
The NUFC boss declaring ‘We have to be more clinical in the final third’ as good situations and chances were wasted.
It is obvious to all that as well as a lack of quality in terms of creativity, the lack of a natural goalscorer is painfully obvious.
Salomon Rondon wasn’t fit enough to be involved against Brighton and the reality of Mike Ashley’s refusal to allow proper strengthening of the squad, means that the main hope of goals is a 29 year old loan striker who has averaged only eight goals per season in the Premier League so far.
Brighton’s near neighbours Southampton are next on the fixture list, will it be tenth time lucky this season?
Rafa Benitez:
“I’m still convinced that we can avoid relegation.
“Sometimes you lose games without creating too much, or because the other team is too strong and you have to defend, today we were in control and we had the chances.
“They scored a goal from a corner that was not even a corner…and after they were just wasting time.
“I think after a game like this one, you have to say we did almost everything to win, meaning that we were not good enough in the final third and didn’t take our chances – but in terms of the effort of the players you can’t ask for more.
“I am confident that if the team continues playing and working as hard as today, we will score goals.
“Everyone can see that the team tried everything and sometimes when you talk about games, when you talk about us having to defend against some teams…today we had 27 attempts!
“We had control and then they had a corner, which wasn’t a corner, and they scored.
“We have to be more clinical in the final third.


“We were so much in control and we were making crosses (41 in total).
“We then put Ritchie on the left hand side to be sure that we could deliver some crosses and we put Joselu on, but we had control of the game, so they were not a threat at that time.
“I will repeat, we were so much in control that it was better to carry on doing what we had to do.
“When you cannot play easily you have to find a solution and then strikers with mobility could be an option, but it’s not just if you play long, or if you play high or not, if you play long on the floor, it could be fine.
“It’s something that we were expecting, but again I will say, we have to be more precise when we move the ball.
“Everybody is a bit down now and we have lost a game we deserved to win, or at least get something from, it is difficult to explain when you have these situations.
“I have said before it’s difficult and it is still difficult.
“It is a long race and we have to keep going, we have to make sure we keep going at this level and score goals.
“We could see they were wasting time from the first minute and when they scored it got even worse.
“They were stopping the game all the time and they used their experience to manage the game and waste time with the goalkeeper.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 0 Brighton 1
Goals:
Brighton: Kayal 29
Possession was Brighton 32% Newcastle 68%

Total shots were  Brighton 8 Newcastle 27
Shots on target were Brighton 2 Newcastle 6
Corners were  Brighton 2 Newcastle 10
Referee: Andre Marriner
Newcastle United:
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett, Ritchie, Diame, Shelvey, Kenedy, Perez, Muto (Joselu 74)
Unused Subs:
Darlow, Atsu, Murphy, Schar, Hayden, Manquillo
Crowd: 50,329 (Brighton approx 1,300)
(Can these statistics from Newcastle 0 Brighton 1 be misleading? Read HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the defeat HERE)
(Match ratings of all NUFC players v Brighton HERE)
(Lee Charnley “We’ll do better when we play the lesser teams” – Read HERE)

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